↑ Peter Franchot
You may have just been cursing his name as you filed your taxes, but let's give credit to Comptroller Peter Franchot for continuing to push for laws that better serve the state's brewers. Though the Maryland Senate was able to make some compromises on a crappy bill surrounding barrel restrictions and limiting hours for breweries, Franchot insisted on creating a task force, Reform on Tap, to study Maryland's "antiquated" liquor laws. "This task force will examine national practices, beer laws of neighboring states, and will study ways we can remove statutory impediments that hurt Maryland's beer industry," he said while touring the Atta Boy brewery in Frederick. Meetings will be held over the spring and summer to discuss proposals, and the task force will make its recommendations in the fall. If the whole HB1283 fiasco proved anything, it's that Maryland could stand to be a little less puritanical about booze.
⬅︎➡︎ The Legislative Black Caucus
Thwarted at the last minute from passing a bill that would guarantee legal pot-growing licenses to minority-controlled companies, Del. Cheryl Glenn and co. staged a press-conference to deliver an ultimatum to Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller and House Speaker Michael Busch who reportedly are at odds about whether he bill should restore licenses to two companies knocked off the list at the last minute. The Black Caucus, which has 51 members, more than a quarter of the 188-member legislative body, vows to withhold support from any legislation next session unless Miller and Busch can convene a special session to address the licensing issue. So far, the leaders have not lifted a finger (as of press time) to comply, but next year is an election year so time will tell.
↓ Civilian Review Board
Lots of city officials have come out with force to say they support the newly-approved consent decree, aimed at fixing lasting problems with how the Baltimore City Police Department works in the community—and that's great. Next on the to-do list is making sure that the city has its shit together enough to actually enact change. One way the city doesn't have its shit together: No Civilian Review Board. Last week we interviewed Jill Carter of the Office of Civil Rights and Wage Enforcement, and she told us she has been working with police and law enforcement officials to fix some of the issues that dampened the CRB's effectiveness. But we also learned that there wasn't actually a board in place yet because Mayor Catherine Pugh hadn't approved the names Carter submitted to her office for the board. This is only going to work if we cross all our t's and dot all our i's, everybody.
↓ Martin O'Malley
Seen lately hamming it up in South Carolina, Iowa, and elsewhere, floating his Presidential Ambition like a turd in still waters, is the apotheosis of Democratic Leadership Council "Third Way" Competence-Not-Ideology Data-Driven dumbshittery. Bill had charisma. Hillary had Iago Brain. O'Malley has nothing but faith in his CompStat binders: This depthless belief that demanding "better" data and setting unreachable goals are the Magic Beans of both politics and policy, with nothing more required. And since, with Trump's ascendance, having-no-principles is now universally seen as a feature, not a bug, O'Malley and his cohort will never learn. Bernie would've winced.
↓ Donald Trump
Following the collective excitement from Republicans, Democrats, and every warmongering media goon out there after a Syrian airbase bombing two weeks ago, the U.S. has decided to bomb more people, this time dropping a massive bomb on Afghanistan because ISIS is there in caves and all of that. The bomb, which is being branded "the mother of all bombs" or "M.O.A.B" because imminent war needs good P.R., was possibly not even approved by Trump (and doesn't need to be apparently, the Pentagon explained), we've got no clear answer, though Trump has said he supports the decision of the military, which he referred to as "my military." Meanwhile: North Korea is provoking like they have been for years, only now the easily provoked The Donald is in power ready to cosplay as some kind of Reagan strongman. G-d help us.